In the two weeks following the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s March 2 approval of the first stages of the state’s new Residential Solar Investment Program, homeowners have submitted applications for about 425kW of new PV. According to the Connecticut Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), 66 applications had been received as of March 15, and 57% of the $1.25 million budget allocated for the first step of the incentive program had been reserved. CEFIA has allocated another $5 million for Step 2. In other words, Connecticut homeowners think solar is hot stuff!
Mike Trahan, Executive Director of Solar Connecticut, expressed optimism about the program, saying the first two steps were expected to result in solar installations for about 700 homes.
In a memo approving the first two funding blocks of the incentive program, DEEP officials said they were exploring financing program options in place of the future incentive blocks. Some solar advocates expressed concern over this move, suggesting that it would not be in alignment with the state’s 2011 energy law and did not represent the long-term commitment solar companies need to invest in Connecticut.
But DEEP Commissioner Daniel Esty says his agency is 100% committed to achieving the 30MW goal of the legislation. “In fact,” Esty said, “we plan to go far beyond 30MW.” Officials say they are engaging industry to develop a program design that “increases the reach of limited government funds in order to achieve maximum deployment of clean energy projects.”
Smart use of ratepayer money is certainly something we can get behind, so we’re working with Commissioner Esty and his team to help ensure the next phase of Connecticut’s residential program will result in a healthy and sustained solar market. Have ideas on what the future of Connecticut’s residential solar program should look like? Send us a note!
In addition to the residential-focused program, CT will soon launch a new Zero-Emission Renewable Energy Credit (ZREC) program that is expected to spur solar development to the tune of at least 20MW per year. Officials say Governor Malloy’s vision for cleaner, cheaper energy guides the direction of the state’s rooftop solar program. “We are very proud of the long-term, predictable nature of the ZREC program for businesses, and the reverse-auction bidding structure that will drive down the cost of clean energy to the ratepayer,” Commissioner Esty said.
Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.